As we close out the extended Florida summer, I figured I’d update anyone who probably doesn’t care on Maya’s thunderstorm anxiety. We broke down and brought in an animal behaviorist from U of F Veterinary School (my once-to-be alma mater until I realized I hate math) whom I had met a couple years ago at an event. Dr. Curtis is extremely nice, knowledgeable and has provided much insight into Maya’s “issues”. We brought her out here for a consultation and have been corresponding via email and the Target pharmacy ever since.
In keeping with tradition, there was no immediate solution for the ol’ “My” as I call her- amongst other things, depending on my mood and what she’s destroyed. Her first batch of drugs, at the maximum doses worked like a piece of craft glitter might work to freshen your breath. I started to become depressed at the amount of money spent on hiring a dog therapist.
We started doing mild exercises with her aggression and general craziness resulting in slow (VERY slow) progress but noticeable things nonetheless. Here’s a tip for dogs that go CRAZY when you have visitors. Maya for instance will bark and jump up on you (but never snapping or biting) scaring the pants off anyone who we invite into the house. Even when pronouncing her utmost joy at your arrival, her voicebox sounds like you’re about to get eaten, she can’t help it but it’s disconcerting to the newcomer. And if you’re mildly cautious about dogs, then forget it- she takes total advantage of the fact that you know she could have been one of Michael Vick’s “pet” projects.
The behaviorist suggested that each time someone comes over, we put Maya on a leash and walk her outside to greet the visitor. Then we all walk in together like a family returning from a joyous picnic. What do you know, it freakin’ worked! Now, I take absolute pleasure in bribing my friends to come over with the guise that I have cupcakes, later telling them they are actually part of my master plan to cure my dog of her demons. Luckily, I have pretty swell friends who now call before they pull up in the driveway and wait patiently for Maya & I to go greet them. There is no more knocking on doors and creating a circus and (using Andy Rooney’s voice) I Like That.
Oh yeah, the storms. Maya is now on a Hollywood House-Wife cocktail of Prozac and Clonazepam that makes me understand why we are a nation addicted to prescriptions. It’s working and the fact that one of those is on the $4 prescription list at Target just makes me want to run through the streets throwing confetti.
Prozac is Maya’s daily regimen. The Clonazepam gets dipped in peanut butter whenever it may rain and will henceforth be used every day next summer, believe you me. Clonazepam is used to treat a wide range of afflictions from seizures to manic episodes to schizophrenia so if Maya ever gets diagnosed with anything else, I’m sure this ol’ pill will take care of that too. Importantly though, IT SEEMS TO BE WORKING!!! A calm Maya sitting still, watching the rain without panting, pacing or acting ridiculous was a sight my husband and I are still catching our breath over. Woo hoo!! We don’t like solving issues with drugs but when you have exhausted everything else and may possibly have a few shreds of sanity left to make a decision, that’s what you decide. In this case, we are all content for the time being and are nervously looking around each time we see a cloud hoping things still work like they’re supposed to.
Congratulations Maya- you are a champ!